The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will ask lawmakers to amend the State Code of Virginia so the College may expand its reduced tuition program to the entire area that falls within the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.
The University of Virginia Board of Visitors supported the proposal Wednesday, but the Virginia General Assembly must approve the plan as well. The UVa-Wise College Board endorsed the plan earlier this year. The ARC region, which College leaders see as a natural fit for the UVa-Wise campus, includes portions of 13 states from New York to Mississippi.
Current law allows UVa-Wise to grant reduced tuition to students who live in counties in Tennessee and Kentucky within 50 air miles from campus.
UVa-Wise officials said the proposal would increase educational opportunities, economic prosperity and diversity throughout the ARC region. In addition, the plan would increase awareness of the College and offer additional growth and development in the school’s primary service area. If approved, the plan could also position the College for federal ARC funding.
UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry presented the plan to the Board of Visitors in Charlottesville on Wednesday. She explained that the plan would increase the recruitment area that UVa-Wise would have to draw students with reduced tuition.
“It’s part of our mission to provide affordable access to higher education,” Henry said. “Expanding our recruiting to the ARC region is also part of our mission, and students from those areas would feel comfortable at UVa-Wise. It would also enhance our market area within our region, which would offer increased recruitment potential.”
Sim Ewing, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the proposal would create an enrollment and economic opportunity for the College and the region. Ewing said estimates that landing just 50 students from the ARC region would bring in $1 million in tuition, fees, and room and board to the College, would boost the local retail coffers by $154,900, and would bring in $8,550 in additional local and state taxes. Ewing explained that the four years 50 ARC area students added per year on campus would equal $4.6 million in economic impact to the College and the community, and there would be no direct state costs since UVa-Wise currently has the capacity for those students already.